Regular readers of GPS Tracklog may recognize the Garmin GPSMap 60CS as one of my personal GPS receivers. It's my favorite workhorse in the stable at this point, and is highly visible in posts here and on the cover of my book, GPS Mapping: Make Your Own Maps. The 60CS has it all -- a bright color screen, turn-by-turn routing capabilities, on screen maps (separate purchase required), an electronic compass, and a barometric altimeter to accurately track elevation gain.
I'm planning to review quite a few of the current crop of GPS receivers over the next month or two, and it only seemed fitting to start with the 60CS. I highly reccomend it on the basis of two years of personal use. The menus are intuitive, and Garmin has an excellent reputation for customer service. The 60CS does double duty as a great ruggedized unit for the backcountry or a dashboard companion for highway navigation.
57 reviewers gave an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars at Amazon, which said the 60CS "is packed with navigational features, but Garmin knows that a great device has to go beyond a simple color display to be the cream of the crop. With that, Garmin has upped the ante on this lightweight, rugged, waterproof unit, offering a 256-color, highly reflective display that provides easy viewing in almost any lighting condition, including bright sunlight. This transreflective TFT, 2.6-inch diagonal screen provides excellent viewing while maximizing your battery life (up to twenty hours with typical use)."
List of features from Garmin's GPSMap 60CS page:
- Electronic compass displays accurate heading while standing still
- Barometric sensor with automatic pressure trend recording
- Sunlight-readable display with 256-color transreflective TFT display (1.5" W x 2.2" H; 2.6" diagonally); color operating system with new look-and-feel
- Faster processor, with auto routing, turn-by-turn directions, and audio alerts along city streets or trails when using MapSource® City Select® or 24K Topo software (optional software)
- 56 MB of internal memory for storing map detail
- Permanent user data storage
- Each day’s best hunting and fishing times—along with sunrise/sunset times—on the integrated Outdoor Calendar
- Special geocaching navigation mode
- Geolocation games, such as Virtual Maze, Nibbons, Geko™ Smak, Memory Race, and Gekoid
- Fast map transfer, with support for both USB and serial port interfaces
- Detailed basemap with general map data, including highways, major roads, river, lakes, and borders
- Dedicated "mark", "page", "enter", "quit", "menu", "find", and "zoom out/in" buttons; four-position rocker pad
- 2.4" x 6.1" x 1.3" (W x H x D) unit dimensions
- Weighs 5.4 ounces (without batteries), 7.5 ounces (with batteries)
- WAAS GPS receiver with accuracy to 10 feet in North America; built-in quad-helix antenna for better satellite reception
- 20 hours of battery life under typical-use conditions (uses two "AA" batteries)
- Multi-platform navigation for easy navigation in a car, in a boat, or on foot
- Accepts data from MapSource products (City Select for driving, U.S. Topo and 24K Topo for hiking, Recreation Lakes for freshwater, and BlueChart® for saltwater applications)
- Waterproof to IEC 60529 IPX7 standards (can be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes)
- 50 reversible routes, 10,000 track points with TracBack® technology (navigate to any track point on the displayed map), and 1000 waypoints with additional graphical icons for location identification
- Proximity alerts for anchor drag, arrival, off-course, proximity waypoint; built-in alarm clock
- User-configurable track-line color, waypoint projection, display color scheme, large-numbers option, audio tones, and pages (turn on/off main pages or change the sequence in which they appear)
- Elevation computer provides current elevation, ascent/descent rate, minimum and maximum elevation, total ascent and descent, average and maximum ascent and descent rate
- Trip computer provides odometer, stopped time, moving average, overall average, total time, max speed, and more
- A Garmin 60CS review from the Utah Association of Geocachers with nice geocaching screen shots.
- The GPS 60CS is reviewed is reviewed by ZDNet, where nine users gave it an 8.2 (out of 10) rating.
- For automobile navigation I recommend the Garmin City Select software, which provides turn-by-turn directions and automatic routing.
- A more cost-effective choice might be the Automotive Navigation Kit, which packages the software with several mounts and a cigarette lighter power adapter.
- If you're more into backcountry use, I recommend MapSource US Topo.
Last, but not least, some additional resources: